Exporting Power BI Desktop Data Using Power BI Exporter

Exporting Power BI Desktop Data Using Power BI Exporter
Exporting Power BI Desktop Data Using Power BI Exporter

I am excited to announce that our amazing team at Data Vizioner has developed a lightweight and easy to use external tool for Power BI Desktop named Power BI Exporter. The Power BI Exporter is a free community tool available for download here. With External Tools General Availability, you can expect to see more and more External Tools built by our amazing community members. I personally stunned to see many amazing ideas turn into useful tools. Learn more about Power BI announcements about External Tools GA here. I am humbled to be named in the announcement though. So thank you to Microsoft for that.

Let me start with a little background. In the past few years, I wrote a series of blog posts about exporting data from Power BI Desktop and Power BI Service. Those posts are quite popular. They are in the top 10 most visited posts on my website, contributing to about 15% of my website visitors. Here are the previous posts I wrote on this specific topic:

Apart from my website statistics showing many people want to export data from Power BI Desktop, some of my customers asked the same question. They wanted to export the curated data from their data model within Power BI Desktop to CSV format and make the curated data available for their other platforms. While all the methods mentioned in my previous blog posts are working, some users still find them complex. So I thought, we can make it better. We can make a straightforward tool that exports the data with only two clicks. So we started building the Power BI Exporter as a micro-project. We added some more ideas to the original idea of only exporting the data. We thought it is good to export the data along with the table names, column names and relationships. Having that information handy, we can quickly build the same data model as the one we exported its data but using the CSV files as the data sources. The other idea was to pack everything in a ZIP file on the fly, so we have a single ZIP file, including the tables, columns, and relationships. As a result, the first version of the Power BI Exporter is born. In this post I explain how it works.

Downloading and Installing Power BI Exported

You can download Power BI Exporter from its official webpage from Data Vizioner website. You require to enter your email address then click the Download button as shown in the following image:

Downloading Power BI Exporter from Data Vizioner Website
Downloading Power BI Exporter from Data Vizioner Website
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What Does XMLA Endpoints Mean for Power BI and How to Test it for Free?

Test Environment from Power BI XMLA Endpoint

XMLA endpoint connectivity for public preview has been announced late March 2019. As at today, it is only available for Power BI Premium capacity users. This sounds like a massive restriction to a lot of people who don’t have a Premium capacity, but they’d love to see how it works. In this article I show you an easy way to get your hands to Power BI XMLA endpoint as quick as possible. Before I start, I’d like to simply explain what XMLA endpoint is and what it really means for Power BI users.

Power BI is Like Onion! It has layers!

Generally speaking, Power BI has two different layers, presentation layer and data model layer. Presentation layer is the visual layer, the one you make all those compelling reports and visualisations. The data model as the name resembles, is the layer that you make your data model in. This layer is the one you can access it via XMLA connectivity.

In a Power BI Desktop file, you can see both layers:

Different layers of Power BI

How XMLA Relates to Different Layers in Power BI?

As you may have already guessed, XMLA is only related to the data model layer and it has nothing to do with the presentation layer. So you may connect to a data model, browse the data model, import data from the model to other platforms like Excel and so forth.

XMLA Is Not New!

Seriously? Yes, seriously. It is not new. It’s been around for many years and perhaps you’ve already used it zillions of times. Whenever you’re connecting to an instance of SQL Server Analysis Services, either Multidimensional or Tabular from any tools like SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), Power BI Report Builder, Excel, Tableau, etc…, you’re using XMLA connectivity indeed.

Power BI is an Instance of SSAS Tabular

It is true. Power BI runs a local instance of SSAS Tabular model. So, whenever you open a Power BI Desktop file (PBIX), Power BI creates a local instance of SSAS Tabular model with a random local port number that can be accessed on your local machine only. When you close the file, the local instance of SSAS Tabular is shut down and its port number is released.

I first revealed the fact that you can connect to the underlying data model in Power BI Desktop from whole different range of tools like SSMS, SQL Server Profiler, Excel, etc… on Jun 2016. So, we indeed were using XMLA to connect to Power BI data models for a long time. We can even take a step further to import our Power BI data models into an instance of SSAS Tabular. In that sense, we are literally generating XMLA scripts from Power BI to create the same data model in SSAS Tabular. How cool is that?

Sooo… What is new then?

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